Israeli-US co-operation in the development of rocket and ballistic missile interceptors is moving a step forward. Raytheon will soon begin to manufacture components for the Israel-developed “Iron Dome” rocket interceptor.
This will allow Israel to purchase more interceptors using US foreign military funds (FMF), the annual defence grant that Israel gets from Washington.
Raytheon is deeply involved in the development of a three-tiered anti-rocket/ballistic missile shield that will protect Israel.
The American company is a full partner in the development of the “David’s Sling” long-range rocket interceptor system. This system was tested last month in Israel, with great success.
During the test, the Elta radar was fully operational. It detected the target rocket and initiated the “kill sequence”. The target was destroyed by a Rafael Stunner interceptor in a kinetic hit.
The “hit to kill” interceptor allows the destruction of the threat to be verified, to avoid using a second interceptor.
The David’s Sling system will be part of the multi-layered defence system Israel is building to defend itself from rockets and missiles. The first layer is the Iron Dome, also developed by Rafael. This system is designed to intercept short-range rockets.
David’s Sling will be the second layer, with Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 the third layer against ballistic missiles. David’s Sling is designed to intercept rockets with a range of 70-250km, but this will increase in the future. The system is also designed to intercept cruise missiles.
The cruise missile intercept capability has been designed to accommodate the fact that “threats are changing”, according to Israeli sources.
So Raytheon is a partner in the David’s Sling programme and now will also manufacture components for the Iron Dome. Will this create a possible adaptation of Israeli systems for US deployment? Israeli sources say that this is “a very realistic scenario”.
They add that the technology that is the basis for the two Israeli systems is unparalleled, and this fact is acknowledged by the Americans.